The majority of four year universities recommend spending at least two years learning a foreign language in high school, but some studies suggest that learning a second or third language can impact more than just a college application.
According to research by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL), learning a new language can positively affect a student’s standardized test and ACT scores. After analyzing the ACT scores of 17,451 students applying for college admission, it was found that the students who studied a foreign language at some point in their high school career consistently scored higher in both English and Mathematics than those who did not.
It has also been found that promoting foreign language learning leads to more cultural awareness and acceptance. The National Council of State Supervisors for Languages
(NCSSL), a group founded for the purpose of promoting language learning, has found that “Foreign language learners are more tolerant of the differences among people” and “the awareness of a global community can be enhanced when children have the opportunity to experience involvement with another culture through a foreign language.”
There are some issues associated with learning a second or third language that can make it a challenge.
One such issue is the amount of time and work it takes to become fluent in a language. According to languagesurfer.com, in order to become fluent in a language similar to English (such as Spanish or French) someone would have to study five hours a week for three years. When learning a language with its own set of characters (like Korean or Mandarin) , and spending that same amount of time studying weekly, it would take eight years to be considered truly fluent.
According to Mrs.Reinhardt, who teaches second year and AP Spanish, as well as first year French, learning a second language can have “…Lots of benefits, you can communicate with others, share experiences, study abroad, it can even help you secure a job.”
As to learning another language, Reinhardt said ” There’s no reason not to, in today’s day and age you’re actually at a disadvantage if you’re monolingual. Colleges and companies are going to be more likely to hire or admit someone who shows fluency in multiple languages.”
To those who’re intimidated by the idea of studying a new language, she said “…don’t be scared. Try to practice as much as you can, you’ll get the hang of it eventually.”